Parent Education Program Explores Artificial Intelligence

During a recent Parent Education meeting, we had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of artificial intelligence and its implications for education and our children’s future. We explored some of the dilemmas and opportunities that AI presents and engaged in a meaningful dialogue about how we can best prepare our students for the AI-driven world.

We encourage parents to continue the conversation at home and to explore resources that can help deepen understanding of AI and its impact on our world. As always, we value the school-parent partnership in student education and appreciate  participation in our Parent Education Program.

Key highlights from the meeting included:

AI is Both a Threat AND an Opportunity:

The use of artificial intelligence tools in the classroom will lead to a shift in curricula and learning routines. However, it is important to note that one should treat all new educational tools with a healthy dose of skepticism. AI may profoundly disrupt learning and schools, but it is too early to take a strong position on whether AI will be a net positive or negative for the educational environment.

Best Practices:

Oak Grove is not going it alone when shaping policies around student and faculty use of AI tools. Instead, we are examining policies by leading universities and educational policymakers, as well as other independent schools, to continually examine our approach to utilizing this technology. Currently, we ask that students be open and honest with their teachers about how they are utilizing AI technology.

An AI-driven Future:

We explored strategies for preparing our students to thrive in a world influenced by AI, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and digital literacy skills. One parent mentioned the importance of the cultivation of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. This will always be an emphasis in the Oak Grove curriculum. Additionally, AI creates opportunities for minimizing some of the rote learning and busywork of the classroom to free up time for enriching activities. We spent some time in the discussion brainstorming ways that students might utilize that additional time. Suggestions included time for self-reflection, time in nature, opportunities to interact with the community, and more time for hands-on activities.

Parental Involvement:

During the meeting, a parent described sitting down with their child to explore and play with Chat-GPT. The parent shared how they modeled appropriate use with their child, and how they made sure the tool was used in a supervised environment. The role of families in fostering responsible digital citizenship is crucial, and we need to always ensure that we are creating the right environment to help our kids utilize the tools safely.

Concerns About Academic Integrity:

Recent research at Stanford helps to explain the anxieties and the realities around cheating and the use of AI. In anonymous surveys, high school students DO NOT report cheating at a higher rate with the rise of AI chatbots. Instead, students continue to cheat for the same reasons that they have always cheated. Stanford professor, Dr. Denise Pope, writes:

There are so many reasons why students cheat. They might be struggling with the material and unable to get the help they need. Maybe they have too much homework and not enough time to do it. Or maybe assignments feel like pointless busywork. Many students tell us they’re overwhelmed by the pressure to achieve — they know cheating is wrong, but they don’t want to let their family down by bringing home a low grade.

We know from our research that cheating is generally a symptom of a deeper, systemic problem. When students feel respected and valued, they’re more likely to engage in learning and act with integrity. They’re less likely to cheat when they feel a sense of belonging and connection at school, and when they find purpose and meaning in their classes.

At Oak Grove we very much share this perspective on academic integrity, and this drives our relationship-driven approach to learning. As parenting adults, we must also continue to be mindful of how we model the ethical use of these technologies.

AI Tools That Can Further Learning:

Middle School humanities teacher Aaron Gardner shared some of the AI-based tools and resources that he learned about at the National Council for Teachers of English Conference that he attended with High School English teacher Gianni Garubo. Here is a link to a resource list of helpful tools: AI tools for students. If you know of any tools that might be useful to students, please message Will on ParentSquare so that he can add them to this list.

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